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Rebecca Goldstein, Melissa Beck; It's all relative: Attentional set for target distractor relations in inattentional blindness. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):442. doi: 10.1167/15.12.442.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Most et al. (2001) demonstrated that an unexpected object (UEO) is noticed when it is similar to the target but dissimilar to the distractors. The authors concluded that inattentional blindness is influenced by attentional sets based on relationships among targets and distractors (e.g., lighter or darker). The present study further examined the role of relational attentional sets in inattentional blindness. In experiment one, participants monitored gray letters while ignoring either black or white distractors. The UEO was black, gray, or white. Participants were least likely to report seeing UEOs that matched the distractor color. Furthermore, UEOs that were in the opposite direction of the relationship between the target and the distractors (e.g., white UEO when the distractors were darker than the targets) were noticed either more often or equally as often as UEOs that matched the target. In experiment two, we examined whether this finding would generalize to relationships among colored targets and distractors. Participants either monitored dark orange targets with light orange distractors or light orange targets with dark orange distractors. Therefore, an attentional set could be created for “redder” or “yellower” and the UEO was either red, dark orange, light orange, or yellow. The results supported a relational attentional set when the targets were light orange and the distractors were dark orange (reporting of the UEO was highest for yellow UEOs > light orange > red > dark orange). However when participants should have been set for redder because the targets were dark orange and the distractors were light orange, reporting of the UEO was still high for the yellow UEO (red > dark orange = yellow > light orange). Overall, these results are consistent with previous research showing that attentional sets can be relational. However, there are also instances where saliency may override a relational attentional set.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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